This blog aims to spotlight indie comic book creators and their independent works. Recently, I discovered a comic called Kopykat and the BombSquad, which was completely created, written, and drawn by Corey Taylor. I enjoyed this book's energy and originality that I wanted to reach out to him. Get to know Corey Taylor...
Mikey P: Corey, to start I'd just like to say your cover pulled me in. The character design for Kopykat is really great. What was the inspiration?
Corey Taylor: KOPYKAT AND THE BOMB SQUAD pays homage to everything that I loved back in high school. From "Hip Hop music, Japanese animation, Blaxploitation films like (Foxy Brown and Shaft), to every action film from the 80's. Kopykat is basically Pam Grier with super powers. While designing her costume, I was inspired by Captain America. I always loved his big red gloves and boots. I wanted her to have a modern look, but also old school at the same time.
MP: It was refreshing to read main characters who have powers but make mistakes and are still trying to figure out their cause.
CT: While writing the script for this book, I made a conscious decision to write realistic dialog and actions for my characters. I continually asked myself "How would I handle this situation? Would a person of color say or do this?" I wanted to create super heroes and villains that had realistic personalities and motives, but still allow the story to have over the top action and be funny. A teenager with superpowers would not make the right decisions all of the time. I know I wouldn’t. Compare this story to Boyz N The Hood with superpowers, and a little bit of Friday thrown in for laughs. Kopykat and the Bomb Squad is set in a fictitious New York City where crime is completely out of control. The young heroes have mysteriously been given super powers, and they decide to fight crime like their favorite comic book heroes. They quickly find out that fighting crime isn't as easy as it looks on the big screen or in comics. Things really get crazy when the teens are introduced to other super powered individuals.
MP: Are you still trying to figure that out as you go along or do you have their story fully mapped out?
CT: I already have several story arcs already mapped out. The first issue focuses on introducing Kopy Kat and her team, but later issues will flesh out the universe that I have created. Future stories will introduce concepts that I have never seen written for African American superheroes or villains. One story arc will focus on "time travel." What would a black superhero do if he was stranded in the past? Would you change history if you had the power? How do you handle racism as a superhero? Who do you save? So many story possibilities for ethnic superheroes! I don’t want to spoil anything, but I have some crazy stuff planned for this book.
MP: The tag line on the cover “the most urban comic in the universe,” is killer just because that kind of self-proclamation is street in itself. Is this more self-promotion or do you feel comics don't resonate enough with urban life?
CT: A little of both. “If I don’t believe my book is the best, no one will!”.
There is a definite lack of “urban themes” in American comics. I believe that the larger companies are wary to take a chance on new ethnic properties, when they have guaranteed sellers like Batman and Spider-Man. But times are changing, with hit shows like “Luke Cage on Netflix”, and a major motion picture featuring the “Black Panther” in the works. Major comic book companies and movie studios are starting to see the value of Superheroes of color.
MP: Your profile reads you are a military retiree. What division? How long?
CT: I was in the Air Force for 22 years. I was trained as a Network Engineer/ Satellite Technician. I was stationed in Washington, D.C, South Korea, and Germany. I can’t complain about any of my tours. My Air Force career was great for the most part. I got to live is some great places and experience some incredible things.
MP: What inspired you to make your own comic?
CT: I created KopyKat and the Bomb Squad way back in high school, and until recently I did not have the time to write and draw a comic book. After retiring from the Air Force, I decided that it was time to pursue this old dream.
MP: Describe your creation process and how you find time to create.
CT: I wish I could do this full-time, but my wife and kids are expensive (smile). I work a full-time job and get most of my drawing done at night when the kids are asleep. I try to squeeze in a few hours several times a week between 8:00PM to 1:00 AM, and about 8hrs on Saturday or Sunday. It can be brutal…
Most of my process is digital now. I currently use an older model Wacom tablet/Monitor (Cintiq 21UX). Drawing digitally is so much faster for me. I do not have the time to pencil everything out on Bristol board, then ink. Corrections and changes are so much faster working on my computer.
Manga Studio for Penciling and Inking
Adobe Photoshop for Coloring
1. Write the script for the issue with panel breakdowns and character dialog
2. (Paper) thumbnail each page to figure out the panels and refine dialog
3. (google) Find reference photos for backgrounds
4. (google) find reference photos for poses and dynamic angles. I sometimes use 3d programs to get the right perspective or pose on a scene.
5. (Manga Studio) rough pencils of each page (Blue line)
6. (Manga Studio) Edit pencils and Ink (I sometimes skip pencils and go straight to inking to speed things up)
7. (Manga Studio) Lettering
8. (Adobe Photoshop) Digital colors
MP: What comics did you read or currently reading that inspire you to keep at it?
CT: I’ve been reading the current Green Arrow title. I love Otto Schmidt’s art! I usually watch action movies while drawing. Gunfire and explosions get me hype… Currently watching SYFY show “Vanhelsing”
MP: Thanks Corey. Anything else you'd like to share?
CT: Never give up on your dreams! I created these characters over 20 years ago, and planned to draw a book back then but l never finished a single drawing. So much wasted time. I can’t imagine how good I would be if I kept drawing after high school. Never give up on your dreams! No matter how complicated life gets.
Also, don't forget where you started. I have met so many cool and creative people on Instagram and Facebook. Some jerks too. Please support and encourage artists that are not at your level. Remember no one started out as an expert.
To see more of Corey’s work or contact him. Click the links below: